Isaiah prophecises Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Isaiah 21:7 and the camel rider

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)


Some Christians (not all) cite Isaiah 21:7 as an example of a prophecy concerning Jesus. Jesus is said to have rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as mentioned in John 12:14 and elsewhere in the other gospels.  Tying that with Isaiah 21:7 which mentions a rider on an ass(donkey) they propose that Isaiah saw Jesus riding on a donkey into Jerusalem. That’s all fine, but what about the other part of the verse that mentions a rider on a camel? The gospels do not mention at all Jesus riding on a camel into any city. The following verse is from the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible which is based on the Septuagint.

“And he saw a chariot with two horsemen, a rider upon an ass, and a rider upon a camel: and he beheld them diligently with much heed.” (Isaiah 21:7)

It is worth mentioning that most of the modern versions of the Bible retain the Mesoretic reading which says chariots/troop of asses and camels. However, the Septuagint version in this case should be preferred (more so for Catholics)  since the authors of the gospels themselves clearly employed the Septuagint (e.g. Isaiah 7:14) as a basis for quotations from the Tanakh or Old Testament rather than the Hebrew text. We read the following words of Lancelot C. L. Brenton in Introduction to The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English, p. 4 :

“The Septuagint version having been current for about three centuries before the time when the books of the New Testament were written, it is not surprising that the Apostles should have used it more often than not in making citations from the Old Testament. They used it as an honestly-made version in pretty general use at the time when they wrote. They did not on every occasion give an authoritative translation of each passage de novo, but they used what was already familiar to the ears of converted Hellenists, when it was sufficiently accurate to suit the matter in hand.”

We also read in Translators for the reader, p. 21 :

“The translation of the Seventy dissenteth from the original in many places, neither doth it come near it for perspicuity, gravity, majesty; yet which of the Apostles did condemn it? Condemn it? Nay, they used it, … which they would not have done, nor by their example of using it, so grace and commend it to the Church, if it had been unworthy the appellation and name of the Word of God”

Thus if the rider of the ass was indeed Jesus a.s. then who was the rider of the camel? Like other Muslim writers before me I would contend that the rider of the camel must have been Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Just as Jesus a.s. was riding an ass as a prophet and messenger of God so was Muhammad riding on a camel as a prophet and messenger of God. In fact, the parallel between the two is unmistakable. While Jesus a.s. as a massenger rode into a city (Jerusalem), Muhammad s.a.w. rode into a city (Yathrib or Medinah as it was later renamed). Just as Jesus was welcomed by a sizeable group of believers with shouts and singing of joy saying Hosanna, Hosanna as he arrived at the city so too was Muhammad s.a.w. greeted with shouts and singing of joy by a sizeable group of believers as he arrived at the city. We read about this momentous incident in the life of the Prophet Muhammad in Martin Lings classic work on Muhammad’s s.a.w. biography,

“After the prayer the Prophet mounted Qaswa (his camel), and Abu Bakr and others of Quraysh also mounted their camels and set off with him for the city. .. Never was a day of great rejoicing. “Come is the Prophet of God! Come is the Prophet of God!” was the joyous cry that went up from more and more voices of men and women and children who had lined the route.” [1]

Professor Emeritus of history Jaroslav Pelikan of Yale University writes in his bestseller and very well received Whose Bible is it?,

“Later in the Book of Isaiah, the Septuagint’s “And I saw two mounted horsemen, and a rider on an ass, and a rider on a camel” became an embarrasement to Christian apologists but a welcome support to Muslim disputants, because it seemed to be prophesying not only that Jesus would enter into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday riding on a donkey, as the Christian Gospel described his doing in the New Testament, but that he would be followed (almost exactly six centuries later) by the prophet Muhammad, who was a camel driver.” [2]

The following is the commendation of the Reverend Peter J. Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals, Harvard University, and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church to Pelikan’s Whose Bible is it?

“No book is more central to our discourse than the Bible, and no scholar better suited to instruct us in its wily ways than Jaroslav Pelikan. We are all in his debt for this stunning guide to the world’s bestseller.”

References:

[1] Martin Lings. Muhammad his life based on the earliest sources(2005). Lahore, Pakistan: Suhail Academy. p. 123

[2] Jaroslav Pelikan. Whose Bible Is It? (2006).  United States: Penguin Books. p. 59

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2 Responses to “Isaiah prophecises Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.”

  1. IslamicReplies says:

    It is also worth noting the following authentic Hadiths show us that Muhammad rode camels:

    Sahih Bukhari, Book 3, Number 67:
    “Narrated ‘Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakra’s father: Once the Prophet was riding his camel and a man was holding its rein….”

    Sahiih Bukhari, Book 26, Number 681:
    “Narrated Ibn Abbas: The Prophet performed Tawaf of the Ka’ba while riding a camel, and whenever he came in front of the Corner, he pointed towards it (with something).”

    Sahiih Bukhari, Book 26, Number 701:
    “Narrated Ibn Abbas: I gave Zam-zam water to Allah’s Apostle and he drank it while standing. ‘Asia (a sub-narrator) said that ‘Ikrima took the oath that on that day the Prophet had not been standing but riding a camel.”

  2. submit says:

    Prophecy Servant of God
    ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
    word Atmak not necessarily means ‘whom I uphold’ but is infact a name

    the writing of Atmak is אתמך
    the writing of Ahmad is אחמד

    Isaiah 42:1
    God says
    “Behold, ‘My Servant’ (pronounced as Abd-ee), ‘whom I uphold’ (pronounced as Atmak);

    God mentioning about the coming of His servant
    Behold My Servant Ahmad (Isaiah 42:1) – so who is this Ahmad as in God’servant?

    He is none other than
    Abd-Allah Ahmad (Servant of God, Ahmad) – Prophet Muhammad s.a.w

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